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Century’s Old Tradition of Turkish Flat Woven Towels: Bamboo Peshtemal

We all got to know bamboo pretty recently compared to other natural fibers as cotton, wool or silk. All of these natural fibers had their own benefits that the humanity took advantage of for thousands of years. Cotton fiber provided a strong, breathable textile surface while silk added a luxurious sheen and softness to the clothing material. As garment makers and fashionistas we seemed to be content with what the nature was willing to offer us.

Then came the synthetics like polyester and regenerative fibers such as viscose and modal. And other natural ones like bamboo. In this quest of creating the softest, most sustainable and most natural surfaces for people to use as garments, towels, cover-ups, robes, bamboo was the clear winner.

Sustainability? Yes. What else makes bamboo so special?

This amazing plant grows in tropical climates. It has a very hard body that makes it the perfect material for building furniture, home accessories and even houses. It is extremely sustainable, growing into the mature state in 3-5 years even if it is cut.

Here are some facts that will give all of us a clearer picture about its sustainability;

  • Bamboo plants rarely needs replanting
  • It doesn’t need chemicals or fertilizers to grow
  • Bamboo is one of the best options to prevent soil erosion
  • The Oxygen Bamboo produces is more than equivalent trees
  • Bamboo fiber production is Eco-friendly in terms of environmental impact

History of Bamboo Textiles

Before we go deeper in this topic; there is one thing we need to state right away: Bamboo fabrics are soft.

It drapes beautifully when knitted or woven into a textile surface and sewn into garment form. The wearer will most likely feel a breezy, light feeling with the bamboo material.

Sure, bamboo is also made into strong and durable fabric that is breathable, anti-bacterial, moisture wicking and very quick drying without the odor. But it is considerably softer than other natural fibers that might have some of the above common qualities.

The super absorbent, quick drying nature of bamboo is what makes it a great component for towels. Bamboo has been an indispensable addition to bath towels, beach towels, yoga and gym towels. Who doesn’t enjoy a towel that is softer?

Most Popular Turkish Peshtemals on Amazon

If you’re wondering where to find the best Turkish Peshtemals, we’ve included and easy-to-read comparison chart below. Here you can find the most popular peshtemals on Amazon. You can compare their features and check out photos of the actual towels to help you decide which one is right for you.

Photo Bamboo Pillow Name Main Features Link
100% Bamboo
Turkish Peshtemal Towel
by Secret Sea
  • 100% Bamboo
  • Lightweight
  • Quick Drying
  • Made in Turkey
Photos &
Full Review

Soft Turkish Cotton
Peshtemal Towel
by Nature Gift

  • 4.3 Star Rating
  • 100% Turkish Cotton
  • Large Multi-Purpose Size
Photos &
Full Review
Diamond Weave
Turkish Cotton Peshtemal
by Bosphorus
  • 4.6 Star Amazon Choice
  • Durable Diamond Weave
  • Large Multi-Purpose Size
  • Made in Turkey
Photos &
Full Review
100% Turkish Cotton
Bath and Beach Towel
by Clotho
  • 100% Turkish Cotton
  • Available in 1/4/6 Pack
  • Free Gift with Purchase
Photos &
Full Review
100% Turkish Cotton
Multi-Purpose Peshtemal
by Holm
  • Large Size 70″ x 39″
  • Quick Dry
  • Great Value
Photos &
Full Review

Turkish Baths AKA Hammams

But how did bamboo also get involved with a six-century old tradition of Turkish baths; in other words: Hammams?

You can describe Hammams as public baths and steam rooms with high temperature. They have been a part of Turkish bath culture and that of the world for a long time. They traditionally have very high domes with sky light which gives them the mystical, otherworldly feeling. One can feel that they are transported in time in a hammam. Time slows down, the steam and the click- clacks of the traditional wooden hammam slippers along with the leisurely movements of the bathers and sky light will make anyone aware of their unusual surroundings with a very content feeling.

A bather wearing a peshtemal in a Turkish bath; hammam.

Bathers in hammams wear a hundred percent Turkish cotton flat woven thin towel called: peshtemal. Peshtemal is the most unique form of Turkish towel there is. It has been spread from the Turkish baths to the homes of the people who are familiar with this tradition. It was when the absorbency and the quick drying qualities of loop free, natural towel was discovered by many. The versatility was amazing.

Peshtemals: Traditional Turkish Bath Towels

Peshtemal was and is still woven in many different colors and designs in the small villages of Aegean coast of Turkey by family owned small businesses. It is widely used on the coasts of Aegean and Mediterranean as a bath or beach towel, a beach cover-up, even a fashion accessory such as a scarf or a shawl.

Cotton was the only fiber that was used in peshtemal production. It was, before bamboo made a confident entrance in the textile and fashion world and took everyone by surprise with its sustainability and softness. Since peshtemals are used for a longer time period during a Turkish bath session than any other towel after a regular shower, the hammam owners along with the Aegean artisans worked on a softer peshtemal that is made of bamboo. It worked wonders. Printed in the region’s, rich and traditional motifs, these peshtemals are natural, breathable and beautiful.

A bamboo robe is the perfect cover-up at the poolside.

Bamboo peshtemals are used after bath, at the beach, as a head-wrap, a sarong and a beach cover up. They are ideal for yoga and gym with their antibacterial quality. They are the perfect companion for travel as they take up a very small space. Many people use bamboo peshtemals as home decoration items such as table cloths or wall tapestries. The care of bamboo peshtemals is easy and Eco-friendly, too.

Did You Know: Bamboo wooden sunglasses are specially designed to float in water, making them great for swimming or using at the poolside.

It is safe to say bamboo changed the world of Turkish baths with its extraordinary softness and sustainability. For more updates and a sneak peek into the peshtemal revolutionary colorful world

About the Author:

Gokcen is a textile engineer who is passionate about natural fibers and different uses of them. After completing her degree, she started working for many textile and garment manufacturers. Her mission was lessen the impact to the environment by improving the spinning, weaving and dyeing processes. She believes, combined efforts towards environment preservation is our duty for future generations.

Molly E

Molly is a mother, wife, and part-time blogger. She has a passion for finding the latest Green Products for all her family needs!